Tuesday, November 30, 2021


Up on the blog today, we have a career-capping 1975 card for former San Diego Padres pitcher Mike Corkins, who played the last of his Big League games during the 1974 season:

Corkins appeared in 25 games for San Diego in 1974, with two of those being starts, going 2-2 with an earned run average of 4.79 in 56.1 innings of work.
As with so many other pitchers stuck in San Diego in the early 70's, he wasn't going to get much support, though the 1972 season was perhaps his best in the Majors.
He went 6-9 with a 3.53 E.R.A. with one shutout in 9 starts, while also picking up 6 saves among his other 38 appearances.
However, by 1974 he was out of the Majors, pitching another two years in the Minors for both the Padres and the Angels.
His career tally: 19-28 with a 4.39 E.R.A. in 157 total games, all for the Padres between 1969 and 1974.

Monday, November 29, 2021


On the blog today, we have a do-over for Ken Brett and his 1972 card, which originally showed him as a member of his upcoming team, the Milwaukee Brewers, in one of those "cheeky" up-shots Topps was prone to using back then:

Here's the original as-issued card for those that need a refresher:

After parts of four seasons with the Boston Red Sox, Brett found himself as part of a blockbuster 10-player trade that had key players George Scott headed to Milwaukee while Tommy Harper come to Beantown.
Still only 23 as the season opened in 1972, he'd play for the Brewers one season before getting traded again at season's end.
In his one year in Milwaukee Brett would go 7-12 with a 4.53 earned run average over 26 appearances, 22 of them starts, with two complete games and a shutout in 133 innings of work.
He would go on to play 14 years in the Big Leagues, pretty much as both a starter and middle reliever between 1970 and 1981, his final year.
He’d finish with a record of 83-85, with an ERA at 3.93 over 349 appearances, 184 of them starts, with eight shutouts and 11 saves.
Of course, he’d have a younger brother named George who’d come up in the mid-70’s and end up making quite a name for himself, straight to the Hall of Fame!
I’ve always wondered where exactly the Brett family lived in Brooklyn, where Ken was born, since I too hail from there, more specifically Bensonhurst.
If anyone has any idea I would greatly appreciate the info, as I suspect they lived in Bay Ridge, but I really have no proof of that.
Anyone know?

Sunday, November 28, 2021


Up on the blog today, we move on to the American League and their top 1973 E.R.A. trio, featuring a couple of Hall of Famers and a nice surprise starter:

We begin with the Baltimore Orioles Jim Palmer, who took home the first of his two career E.R.A. crowns with a 2.40 finish for 1973.
It was also the year he took home the first of his three Cy Young Awards, finishing 22-9 with six shutouts, 19 complete games and 158 strikeouts, even picking up a save along the way.
It was the fourth of what would be an incredible eight 20-win seasons for the ace, eventually finishing with 268 wins over 19 seasons, with those three Cy Young Awards, four Gold Gloves, and five other top-5 finishes in the Cy Young race.
Right behind him with a 2.52 E.R.A. is Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven, who led the American League with nine shutouts in 1973, as he would finish with a record of 20-17, the only 20-win season of his long career, while striking out 258 batters, the third 200 of what would be eight 200-strikeout seasons in his career.
For Blyleven, he'd win 287 games, toss 60 shutouts, and strikeout 3701 batters over 22 years, but STILL had to wait a while before getting the Cooperstown nod to the Hall of Fame. Just ridiculous.
In third place with a nice 2.75 E.R.A. is Boston Red Sox starter Bill Lee, who had himself a very nice first season as a Big League Starter in 1973 when he posted a record of 17-11 over 38 appearances, 33 of them starts, tossing a shutouts while striking out 120 batters, making his only All-Star team as well.
Lee would put together three straight 17-win seasons for Boston between 1973 and 1975, completing 18, 16 and 17 games respectively before arm issues derailed his career.
Aside from 10 wins for Boston in 1978 and 16 for the Montreal Expos in 1979, Lee wouldn't reach double-digit wins again in his career over the last seven years of his career.
He'd retire with a record of 119 and 90, along with an E.R.A. of 3.62 over 416 appearances between 1969 and 1982, throwing 10 shutouts, saving 19, and striking out 713 over 1944.1 innings.
Now onto the Major League Wins leaders! See you next time!

Saturday, November 27, 2021


Up next in the cavalcade of 1971 starting All-Stars given their due in the 1972 set with "missing" All-Star cards is Hall of Famer Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the third outfielder for the National League joining,up with Mays and Aaron:

Though already a three-time All-Star by the time 1971 rolled around, Stargell really had his breakout season in 1971, eventually leading the N.L. with 48 homers while also driving in a career-best 125 runs, scoring 104 himself.
Those monster numbers would get him a second place finish in the MVP race, something he'd also do two years later.
He'd have to wait until 1979 when at the age of 39 he'd finally get his MVP Award, leading the Pirates to their World Series win over the Baltimore Orioles with their "We are family" team, with "Pops" taking the team on his shoulders.
Luckily, I got to see him towards the end of his career in the late-70's/early-80s before he retired after the 1982 season.
His final number? Hall of Fame worthy as he'd finish with 475 home runs, 1540 RBIs, a surprisingly high .282 batting average and 2232 hits over 2360 games and 7927 at-bats.
Think about those numbers in UNDER 8000 at-bats!
Of course when eligible for the Hall of Fame, he was in, with 82.4% of the vote in 1988.
So sad that he would pass away at only 61 years of age in 2001.

Friday, November 26, 2021


Up on the blog today, we have a 1977 "not so missing" card for former Houston Astros pitcher Paul Siebert, who was coming off his third Big League season when this card would have seen the light of day:

Siebert pitched well for the Astros in 1976 in limited play, appearing in 19 games out of the bullpen and going 0-2 with a decent 3.16 earned run average over 25.2 innings.
The following year he'd find himself starting the season with the San Diego Padres before finding himself traded to the New York Mets in June as part of the (in)famous Dave Kingman trade.
Combined he'd go 2-1 over 29 appearances that season, with an ERA of 3.69 in 31.2 innings, again all out of the bullpen.
Siebert then appeared in 27 games for the Mets during the 1978 season, posting an 0-2 record with a 5.14 earned run average with a single save over 28 innings of work.
The 1978 season would be the last taste of big league ball for Siebert, closing out a five year career that saw him go 3-8 with a 3.77 ERA over 87 games and 129 innings pitching for the Houston Astros, San Diego Padres and Mets.

Thursday, November 25, 2021


HAPPY THANKSGIVING ALL! I hope you're all safe and well this morning!

Today's "dedicated manager" card is a 1975 edition for the great Yogi Berra, who was at the helm of the New York Mets when this beauty would have hit packs before the '75 season:

Berra was coming off a disappointing 1974 season that saw the reigning National League champs fall from first to fifth after a World Series loss in 1973 to the Oakland A's.
Turns out the 1975 season he would be let go about three quarters into the year, having the Mets in third place with a record of 56-53. Not exactly a horrible year, and ironically winning at a higher clip than their 1973 season when the team made the World Series with a record of only 82-79.
Berra wouldn't manage again until 1984 after years of coaching, coming back to the New York Yankees and guiding them to a record of 87-75, good for a third place finish.
The following season he'd be let go after only 16 games, with the Yanks at 6-10, which would be the last Managerial position of his long baseball career.
His only other manager spot was way back in 1964 when he led the Yankees to the World Series with a record of 99-63 before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals and Bob Gibson.
Little did Yankee fans know it would be the last time they'd be in the World Series until 1976 after an incredible run of Postseason berths the previous 40 some odd seasons.
For Berra, the Hall of Famer finished his managing career with a record of 484-444, good for a .522 winning percentage, with two pennants.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021


On the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1979 card for former infielder Ken Macha, who played in just under three dozen games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1978:

Macha played in 29 games over the Summer of 1978, hitting .212 with 11 hits in 52 at-bats, with five runs scored and five runs batted in.
Originally up in 1974 when he appeared in five games for Pittsburgh, he wouldn't make it back to the Majors until 1977, when he played in 35 games, hitting .274.
In 1979 he found himself North of the border with the Montreal Expos, where he'd play for two seasons before one last year as a Big League player with the Toronto Blue Jays during the strike-shortened 1981 campaign.
All told, over those six seasons under the Big League sun, Macha finished with a .258 career average, compiling 98 hits over 380 at-bats, with 30 runs scored and 35 RBIs over 180 games.
Later on in the 2000's he'd become a Major League manager, guiding the Oakland A's between 2003 and 2006 with great success, finishing in first place twice and second place twice, averaging about 92 wins a season, before managing the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009 and 2010, where he met with less success, winning 80 and 77 games respectively.
Nevertheless not a bad baseball life!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021


Up on the blog today, we have a career-capping "not so missing" 1976 card for former first baseman Frank Tepedino, who finished up an eight-year Big League career with eight games for the Atlanta Braves in 1975:

Tepedino went 0-7 at the plate over those eight games, finishing up a career that saw him play parts of eight seasons between 1967 and 1975.
Never a full-time player, Tepedino never played more than 78 games in a season, and that was in 1974 with Atlanta, when he hit .231 with 39 hits in 169 at-bats.
Originally up with the New York Yankees, he also played with the Milwaukee Brewers the last half of 1971, before a short stint back with the Yanks in 1972, then on to the Atlanta Braves.
He would end up batting .241 as a Major League player, totaling 122 hits in 507 at-bats in 265 games, with 50 runs scored and 58 runs batted in.

Monday, November 22, 2021


Very fun card to add to the "wthballs" stable, a 1978 "not so missing" card for one game Major League pitcher Gary lance of the Kansas City Royals:

Lance made his Big League debut on September 28th of 1977, and it would be the only time he'd spend on a Major League mound, tossing two innings while giving up one run against the Oakland A's.
Sadly for him he'd get tagged for the loss, giving up two hits and two walks over ten batters faced in his one game in the Majors.
He'd spend the next three years toiling in the Minors for both the Kansas City and Seattle Mariners organizations before moving on to the Mexican League in 1982, where he pitched for Monterrey.
But he'd never get another chance to play in the Big Leagues, playing that one game in the late Summer of 1977 as his only time in the "Big Show".

Sunday, November 21, 2021


Today on the blog we move on to pitching statistical leaders of 1973 in my on-going "expanded league leaders" where Topps only offered the top performer in each league for a particular category on the league leader cards, beginning with the National League's top three E.R.A. guys:

Of course, we begin with the great Tom Seaver, who led the league in E.R.A. in 1973 on his way to a second Cy Young Award, with his 2.08 figure.
Seaver posted a record of 19-10, also leading the N.L. in complete games with 18 and strikeouts with 251, while tossing three shutouts for the New York Mets.
Right behind him with an E.R.A. 2.42 is another Hall of Famer, Don Sutton of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had a typical year for himself, going 18-10 over 33 starts, with three shutouts and an even 200 strikeouts, finishing fifth in the Cy Young race for the second year in a row while making his second All-Star team.
The surprise player on this expanded card today is former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Wayne Twitchell, who had the best season of his 10 year career in 1973, finishing up with a record of 13-9 over 34 appearances, 28 of them starts, with a very nice 2.50 E.R.A.
For Twitchell, he completed 10 of those starts, tossing five shutouts while striking out 169 batters, all career bests.
Well there you have it, the top three E.R.A. pitchers of 1973 for the National League, and next week we'll head over to the American League for their stingiest hurlers.
See you then!

Saturday, November 20, 2021


Moving along in my on-going 1972 All-Star sub-set thread today, we have the great, if not greatest, Willie Mays as the next outfielder who started for the National League in the classic 1971 Midsummer Classic:

Though Mays was winding down his incredible baseball career by the time the 1971 season rolled around, he was still producing, finishing the season with 18 home runs and 61 runs batted in for the San Francisco Giants, leading the league with his 112 base on balls and .425 on-base-percentage.
Anyway, not much to get into about arguably the best all-around player in baseball history. 3000+ hits, 660 homers, 1900+ R.B.I.'s., 1951 Rookie of the Year and N.L. M.V.P. in 1954 and 1965. But he was much more than just stats. He was the "Say Hey Kid".
By the time the 1970's hit, he was a walking legend of the sport, and being enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979 was the cherry on top of it all.

Friday, November 19, 2021


Thought it would be fun to revisit a blog post from almost eight years ago, this one my last entry in my short-lived 1979 #1 Draft Pick thread celebrating the decade's #1 overall picks, this one profiling the Seattle Mariners' pick of Al Chambers in June of '79:

Here's the write-up from that day:

"Well, today we reach the end of my thread of an imagined sub-set for the 1979 set featuring all the overall #1 draft picks of the 1970's.
Sadly, we end it with a bit of a thud, as the #1 pick in the 1979 draft was Al Chambers, picked by the Seattle Mariners, selected ahead of future stars Andy Van Slyke, Tim Wallach and Steve Howe.
Granted, it wasn't the most stocked of drafts that year, but considering that Chambers ended up playing in 57 games for his career, you have to chalk this one up to "bust".
Chambers made it up to the Major Leagues in 1983, getting into 31 games, good for 81 plate appearances, batting .209 with three doubles and a homer.
But that would actually be the most time he'd see up in the big show, as 1984 would see him play in only 22 games, getting 49 at-bats, before getting into only four games in 1985 and marking the total playing time he'd have in his short Major League career.
After bouncing around for a few more years in the Seattle, Houston and Chicago Cubs Minor League systems, he'd move on to the Mexican League in 1988 for a year before leaving his baseball playing days for good.
I guess you can say his biggest claim to fame is being included in Topps' 1985 "#1 Draft Picks" sub-set along with more substantial picks through the years, like Darryl Strawberry, Shawon Dunston and Harold Baines.
But hey, at least Seattle did fair a bit better in the 1981 draft, picking star pitcher Mike Moore with the #1 overall pick.
That does it for the #1 draft sub-set. Wish there was more to cover, as I had fun with the cards designed for the topic.
Perhaps I should start a sub-set of "best pick of each draft" for the decade?
We'll see.."

Thursday, November 18, 2021


On the blog today, a "not so missing" 1975 card for a guy who seemed to need a lot of them created over his eight-year MLB career, former catcher Adrian Garrett:

For Garrett this is the third such card I've created, joining a 1972 and 1977 edition over the years, as he continually found himself playing parts of seasons no matter where he went.
In 1974 he appeared in only 10 games for the Chicago Cubs, going hitless in eight at-bats while putting in a little time behind the plate, at first base and out in left field.
He would play for four organizations: Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s and California Angels, ending up with a .185 batting average with 51 hits in 276 at-bats in 163 games, with 30 runs scored, 11 homers and 37 runs batted in.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021


Today's blog post has a fun 1977 "Dedicated Manager" card for Bill Virdon, somewhat of a forgotten figure over the years as both a solid player and manager over a long MLB career:

Virdon was about to start his second full season as skipper of the Houston Astros in 1977, coming off a third place finish in 1976 with a record of 80-82.
He'd do one game better in 1977, finishing 81-81, good for another third place finish in the National League West.
He would eventually spend eight years as manager of the Astros, having his best season in 1980 when the Astros finished 93-70, finishing in first place before losing to the eventual World Champion Philadelphia Phillies in the N.L. playoffs.
Previous to the Astros gig, he managed both the New York Yankees (1974 and 1975) as well as the Pittsburgh Pirates (1972 and 1973), having good years for both teams but being let go nevertheless.
After the 1982 season he moved on to the Montreal Expos, where he managed them in 1982 and 1983 before being let go mid-season after a 64-67 start.
All told as a manager, Virdon finished with a record of 995 and 921, with two first place finishes as well as a first place finish in the second half of the 1981 strike season debacle.
As a player he was equally as solid, winning the Rookie of the Year in 1955 when he hit .281 with 17 homers and 68 runs batted in for the St. Louis Cardinals, while picking up a Gold Glove in 1962 for his defensive work out in centerfield for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Over his 12 year playing career spanning 1955 to 1968, Virdon hit .267 with 1596 hits in 5980 at-bats over 1583 games, scoring 735 runs while driving in 502.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021


Up on the blog today, we have a 1971 "not so missing" card for former pitcher Bill Dillman, who made it back to a Big League mound in 1970 after spending the previous two years toiling in the Minors:

Dillman, who made his Big League debut in 1967 with the Baltimore Orioles, was back in the Majors with the Montreal Expos in 1970, appearing in 18 games while posting a record of 2-3 with a 5.28 earned run average over 30.2 innings of work.
In 1967, his only other taste of the "Big Time", Dillman appeared in 32 games for the reigning World Champ Orioles, going 5-9 with a 4.35 ERA over 124 innings at the age of 22, with a shutout and three saves.
Sadly for him however, he would spend all of 1971 and 1972 in the Minors for both the Montreal and New York Mets organizations, never getting another chance in the Majors, retiring after the '72 season.
All told, he finished with a record of 7-12 over 50 games, sporting an ERA of 4.54 in 154.2 innings, with one shutout and three saves along the way.

Monday, November 15, 2021


Up on the blog today, a "not so missing" 1979 card for former catcher Marv Foley, who made his MLB debut during the 1978 season:

Foley appeared in 11 games for the Chicago White Sox that year, hitting a blistering .353 with 12 hits over 34 at-bats.
However that performance didn't turn into a full-time gig, as he would go on to play parts of five years in the Majors between 1978 and 1984, while spending all of 1981 and 1983 in the Minors.
Over 203 Big League games with the White Sox and Texas Rangers, Foley hit .224 with 94 hits in 419 at-bats, with 37 runs scored and 51 runs batted in, hitting 12 homers.

Sunday, November 14, 2021


On the blog today, we have the next "expanded league leader" card in my on-going thread, this one the 1974 card for the American League stolen base leaders of 1973:

We start off with Tommy Harper, who took home his second stolen base crown, now as a member of the Boston Red Sox, with his 54 steals.
Back in 1969 he also led the American League in steals while a member of the one-year Seattle Pilots, with 73.
Harper would finish his 15-year career in 1976 with 408 stolen bases overall, with a 30-30 season in 1970 as a Milwaukee Brewer when he hit 31 homers while stealing 38 bases.
Just one stolen base behind him with 53 is the Oakland A's speedster Billy North, who played his first full season in the Majors in 1973 and didn't disappoint, hitting .285 with those 53 steals, scoring 98 runs while collecting 158 hits.
He would go on to lead the league in steals two time over the next three years, with a high of 75 in 1976, finishing with 395 stolen bases for his career by the time he'd hang them up in 1981.
In third place with 43 steals is the Texas Rangers' Dave Nelson, who also finished in third the previous year.
After swiping 51 bases in 1972 he put in what was his best year as a Big Leaguer, hitting .286 with 165 hits and 71 runs scored, with 24 doubles, four triples and seven homers, all career bests aside from the triples.
So there you go!
The top three stolen base players for the Junior Circuit of 1973!


Saturday, November 13, 2021


Today on the blog we move on to the National League's All-Star outfielders for the classic 1971 Midsummer Classic, featuring three absolute STUDs, beginning with the great Hank Aaron:

Aaron made his 21st, yes TWENTY-FIRST, straight All-Star game in 1971, counting the four seasons where baseball held two such games in the early 60's.
The man put in yet another year we were spoiled with from "Hammerin' Hank", going on to hit a career-best 47 home runs to go along with 95 runs scored, 118 RBIs, a .327 batting average and a league-leading .669 slugging percentage.
The 47 homers made Aaron one of only two men to hit 40 homers in a season in three different decades, with only another HOFer, Harmon Killebrew achieving the feat.
The man was simply out of this world...
Let his numbers do all the talking: 2174 runs scored, 3771 hits, 624 doubles, 98 triples, 755 home runs, 2297 runs batted in, a .305 batting average no less than 21 all-star selections!
Just tremendous!
He also had eight top-5 finishes for MVP, including taking home the award in 1957, as well as three Gold Gloves won consecutively between 1958-1960.
It's incredible to look at his 15 years of topping 100 or more runs scored, 11 seasons of 100 or more runs batted in, five more seasons of 90+ RBI's, and TWENTY STRAIGHT years of 20 or more home runs.

Rest in Peace to one of the absolute greats of the game, Mr. Henry Aaron...

Friday, November 12, 2021


On the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1975 card for former Chicago White Sox first baseman/DH Lamar Johnson, who made his Big League debut in 1974:

Johnson appeared in 10 games for Chicago in 1974, hitting a robust .345 with 10 hits in 29 at-bats, driving in two while scoring one.
He'd appear in only eight games the following season, hitting an even .200 with six hits in 30 at-bats, including his first MLB homer and three doubles.
In 1976, though only appearing in 82 games, the man would rake, hitting .320 with 29 runs scored and 33 RBIs, with 71 hits in 222 at-bats, and he'd pretty much keep that solid hitting going for the rest of his nine-year career.
He'd hit .302 in 1977 for the "South Side Hit Man", along with a career-best 18 homers, and two years later hit .309.
In 1980 he followed that up with a .277 batting average and a career-high 81 RBIs and 150 hits over 147 games.
I don't know exactly what happened after that being that he was still only 29 years of age, but in 1981 he'd play in only 41 games, hitting .276, before finding himself with the Texas Rangers in 1982, appearing in only 105 games, the last of his Major League career, hitting .259.
Nevertheless, post playing career Johnson would go on to become a respected batting coach for various teams, including the Kansas City Royals in the late-90's, who set team records for offense (granted this was the "steroid era").
For his playing career, Johnson finished up with a very nice .287 batting average, with 755 hits over 2631 at-bats, driving in 381 while scoring 294 in 792 games between 1974 and 1982.

Thursday, November 11, 2021


For those who are interest, or those who missed the email that went out, the newest custom "WTHBALLS" set is now available!

Read below images for all info:



The next custom set will be a special edition 16-card offering called “The Whole Nine”, with FULL statistic backs!

I selected 15 cards I always wished were produced by Topps, and created them here in one set, including cards like a 1980 Thurman Munson, 1959 Ted Williams, and a 1966 Satchel Paige among others.

In addition to these cards, I also created a “missing” 1933 DeLong Babe Ruth card on “velvet-touch” card stock, which comes in a glassine envelope with affixed 1983 USPS Babe Ruth stamp on the cover.

All of this also comes with a bonus Ted Williams glossy art sticker, neatly packaged in a two-piece hard case by Ultra-Pro, with printed wrap band as seen in attached photos.

So 16 cards total, sticker, in hard case with wrap.

For those of you who want to pick one (or more) up, the sets are $15 each plus one-time $4.75 postage fee.

Email me for more info: slogun23@gmail.com


And again, I appreciate the interest in the stuff I put out! Never taken for granted!


On the blog today, how about a "not so missing" 1973 card for former Chicago White Sox pitcher Ken Frailing, who made his MLB debut in 1972 as a 24 year old:

Frailing appeared in four games for the White Sox in 1972, going 1-0 with a 3.00 earned run average over three innings of work.
He'd appear in only 10 games the following year, throwing 18.1 innings while posting a nice 1.96 ERA with 15 strikeouts and seven walks.
In 1974 he found himself up on the North Side of the city, playing for the Chicago Cubs, appearing in 55 games and posting a record of 6-9 with a respectable 3.88 ERA over 125.1 innings, completing a game while also picking up a save.
The following year Frailing would appear in 41 games, all out of the bullpen, going 2-5 with a 5.43 ERA over 53 innings, yet Topps wouldn't give him a card in their 1976 set (something I created for the blog years ago).
The 1976 season would turn out to be his last, as he appeared in six games, going 1-2 with a 2.41 E.R.A., with three starts.
He'd play in the minors until 1978 before leaving the game for good, with his final Major League numbers: a 10-16 record with a 3.96 E.R.A., two saves and 136 strikeouts over 116 games, 19 of which were starts.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021


Back in December of 2015 I created a 1975 "missing in action" card for former catcher Bob Barton, using a photo I was not 100% happy with. 

Well today I can finally post up an "upgrade", with a much better image, so here goes:

For those that want to see my original card from six years ago, here it is:

As you can see, much better this time around, and I'm glad I came across this new photo to improve on the card.
Here's my original write-up for the post way back when:

"Barton played in 30 games for San Diego in 1974, the last Major League games he’d suit up for in his 10-year career.
He batted .235 that season, with 19 hits over 81 at-bats.
For his career he finished off with a .226 average over 393 games, mainly all as a catcher with the San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds between 1965-1974.
Of course I’ll always remember him for his hilarious 1972 Topps “In Action” card, which always struck me as a riot!"

Tuesday, November 9, 2021


Up on the blog today we have the fourth "missing" card for former catcher Art Kusnyer I've created over the years, this one a 1974 edition for the guy who seemed to be overlooked by Topps year in and year out over his six year career:

Kusnyer appeared in 41 games for the California Angels in 1973, hitting .125 with eight hits over 64 at-bats while picking up some time behind the plate.
It was his third straight year with the Angels after coming up with the Chicago White Sox in 1970, appearing in just four games and collecting one hit over 10 at-bats.
But when 1974 rolled around, Kusnyer found himself struggling to find a spot for himself in the Milwaukee Brewers organization after being traded by California in October of 1973 in a nine-player swap between the two clubs.
He'd end up toiling in the Minors for the next two seasons before finding his way back into a Major League game in 1976, getting into 15 games for the Brewers, hitting .118 on four hits in 34 at-bats.
His last hurrah on the Major League level would be in 1978 with the Kansas City Royals, playing in nine games and getting three hits in 13 at-bats, good for a .231 average.
He'd scratch out another season of Minor League ball for the White Sox in 1979 before calling it a career and eventually moving into coaching work for the Sox and the Oakland A's over the next 28 years.
Not too shabby a career!

Monday, November 8, 2021


On the blog today, finally am able to create and post a 1978 "do-over" for former pitcher Woodie Fryman, who was originally shown airbrushed into a Chicago Cubs uni, for whom he'd be playing for in 1978 after an off-season trade:

For those that need a refresher on the original, here you go:

Fryman appeared in 17 games for the Cincinnati Reds in 1977, going 5-5 with a 5.38 earned run average over 75.1 innings.
He would start the 1978 campaign with the Cubs, appearing in 13 games, before moving on to the Montreal Expos for another 19 appearances on the season, going a combined 7-11 over 32 appearances, completing four games with three shutouts, as well as a save thrown in for good measure.
He'd stay with Montreal for the rest of his career, pitching five more years with them before retiring at the age of 43 after the 1983 season.
Overall, Fryman finished with a career 141-155 record in 625 appearances, with a 3.77 ERA over 2411.1 innings, tossing 27 shutouts while saving 58 between 1966 and 1983.

Sunday, November 7, 2021


The next manager to get a dedicated card is former National League MVP Ken Boyer, who ended up managing his old team for a few years, hence this 1979 edition:

Boyer managed parts of three seasons with the Cardinals, his only managerial experience at the Big League level.
In 1978 he finished up the season as manager for the Cardinals, the third manager of the year for the team, going 62-81, good for a fifth place finish in the East.
In 1979 he'd get a full season in, going 86-76, giving the Cardinals a third place finish and a decent improvement over the previous year.
In 1980, he'd only get 51 games into the year before being let go, going 18-33, with the team mired in fourth place.
He was about to return to managing in the Minors after his dismissal, but sadly he developed lung cancer, which took his life just two years later in 1982, passing away at only 51 years of age.
As a player, Boyer put in a career that saw him top a .300 batting average five times, drive in 100 or more runs twice and score 100+ three times while collecting over 2000 hits, slam 282 homers and drive in over 1100 runs.
He was also named to seven all-star teams while taking home five Gold Gloves for his fielding at third base, while taking home the 1964 National League Most Valuable Player Award after leading the team to a World Series win over the New York Yankees.

Saturday, November 6, 2021


Time to go and give former All-Star shortstop Leo Cardenas, aka "Mr. Automatic", a spot in my long-running "Nicknames of the 1970's" thread:

Somewhat of a forgotten man of the era, Cardenas was a solid player for about a dozen seasons between 1962 and 1973, playing for the Cincinnati reds, Minnesota Twins and California Angels, making five All-Star teams, collecting a Gold Glove in 1965 and even getting some MVP attention in a few seasons.
Over his 16 year career, he would hit as many as 20 homers (1966), drive in as many as 81 runs (1966), collect as many as 173 hits (1962) and even lead the league two years in a row in intentional base on balls (1965, 1966).
By the time he retired after the 1975 season after 55 games with the Texas Rangers, he finished with 1725 hits, 662 runs scored, 689 runs batted in and a .257 batting average over 1941 games.

Friday, November 5, 2021


Next up in my on-going 1972 All-Star sub-set special is the starting third baseman for the National League in the classic 1971 Midsummer Classic is Joe Torre, Hall of Fame manager who also put in a borderline Hall of Fame playing career:

Of course, we all know that Torre had the season of his career in 1971, leading the N.L. in both batting average, hitting at a .363 clip, while also pacing the league with his 230 hits and 137 runs batted in.
The man was just converting over to full time third base work after coming up as a catcher with the Milwaukee Braves in 1960 at the age of 19, before shifting to first base later on when the team moved to Atlanta in 1968.
The Brooklyn-native really did put together a career that gives him a second look as a Hall of Fame player.
It’s easy to forget how he came up as a catcher and had some monster years for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves between 1961 and 1968 before being traded to St. Louis for Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda right before the 1969 season opened.
Five times he would top 100 runs batted in, while topping 200 hits twice, 20 home runs six times and a .300+ batting average five times on his way to career numbers of 1185 RBIs, 2342 hits, 252 homers and a very nice .297 MLB average.
He finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year race in 1961 behind future Hall of Famer Billy Williams, and was named to nine all-star teams over the course of his career.
Of course, once he moved on to managing, particularly when he took over duties with the New York Yankees in 1996, his path to Cooperstown was laid out in front of him, leading the Bronx Bombers to World Series wins four times, including three in a row between 1998-2000, with the ‘98 team considered one of the best teams of all-time, winning 114 regular season games along with 11 more, steam-rolling through the San Diego Padres for a world championship.
Over 29 seasons as a manager, Torre finished with 2326 wins along with a nifty .538 winning percentage. Looking at his Yankee tenure, he finished an incredible 1173 and 767, good for a sparkling .605 percentage, averaging just under 100 wins a season!
So of course, in 2014 he made it into the Hall, being selected by the Veteran’s Committee after a combined 47 years in Major League ball as a player or manager.

Thursday, November 4, 2021


On the blog today, a "not so missing" 1979 card for former Chicago White Sox pitcher Rich Wortham, who made his MLB debut in 1978 with eight appearances at the age of 24:

Wortham had a nice showing over those eight appearances, going 3-2 with a 3.05 earned run average in 59 innings of work, including two complete games.
The following year he would be a full time starter, posting a record of 14-14 over 34 appearances, all but one of those starts, with a 4.90 ERA in 204 innings, with five complete games and 119 strikeouts.
However in 1980 he took a big step back, as he was moved to the bullpen, appearing in 41 games, with only 10 starts, going 4-7 with a bloated 5.97 ERA over 92 innings pitched, saving one game along the way.
He would spend both of 1981 and 1982 in the Minor Leagues for a few organizations before making it all the way back to the Big Leagues in 1983 with the Oakland A's, appearing in only one games and allowing three hits and a run without retiring a batter, which would be the last action of his professional career let alone Majors.
All told, he finished with a record of 21-23 over 84 games, with an ERA of 4.89 in 355 innings, with seven complete games and a save.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021


Time to go and give former Big League infielder Rick Auerbach a do-over for his 1974 Topps card, replacing the airbrushed beauty with one showing him suited up with the team he played for in 1973, the Milwaukee Brewers:

For those that need a refresher on the original, as issued by Topps, here you go:

Now get this: funny enough Auerbach was originally traded by the Brewers to the Dodgers in April of 1973, only to be purchased by the Brewers in September later that year.
If that wasn't enough, he was then purchased BACK by the Dodgers from the Brewers in October , leading to the airbrush job Topps originally had out there in packs in 1974.
Auerbach appeared in only six games during the 1973 season, all with Milwaukee, and would never really get any full-time work over his Major League career.
The only year he was a full-time player was 1972 with Milwaukee, when he played in 153 games, collecting 121 hits over 554 at-bats, for a .218 batting average, with 24 stolen bases and 50 runs scored, all career-bests.
He would go on to play through the 1981 season, the last with the Seattle Mariners, and end up with a .220 career average with 309 hits and 167 runs scored over 624 games and 1407 at-bats in eleven years at the “big show”.


Tuesday, November 2, 2021


On the blog today, a "not so missing" 1976 card for former Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Knapp, who made his Big League debut in 1975 with two appearances at the age of 21:

Knapp didn't factor in a decision over that brief time, pitching to an earned run average of 4.50 in two innings of work.
After a 1976 season that saw him go 3-1 over just 11 appearances, with a 4.82 ERA in 52.1 innings, he would get a full time slot in the White Sox rotation in both 1977 and 1978, putting up some decent numbers.
In 1977 he'd go 12-7 over 27 appearances, all but one starts, with four complete games and 103 strikeouts, while in 1978 he'd find himself a member of the California Angels, having his finest season of his career, going 14-8 over 30 games with an ERA of 4.21, with eight complete games and 126 strikeouts, all career-bests.
In 1979 he'd have a bit of a setback, appearing in only 20 games while going 5-5 with a 5.51 ERA, throwing only 98 innings, while the following year he'd play what turned out to be the last games of his career, struggling with a record of 2-11 over 32 games, with a bloated 6.14 ERA over 117 innings, collecting the only save of his career.
All told, Knapp finished with a record of 36-32 in 122 games, 99 of them starts, with an ERA at 4.99 in 604.1 innings, completing 15 games while saving 1 between 1975 and 1981.

Monday, November 1, 2021


Up on the blog today we have a career-capping "not so missing" 1977 card for former pitcher Ed Sprague, who wrapped up an eight year Major League career with three appearances with the Milwaukee Brewers:

Sprague went 0-2 over those appearances, all out of the bullpen, allowing six runs in 7.2 innings of work, for an ERA of 7.04.
He would play another eight seasons in the Major Leagues, finishing with a 17-23 record along with a 3.84 ERA, nine saves and 188 strikeouts over 408 innings and 198 games, 23 of which were starts.
His best season would be 1974, posting a 7-2 record with a 2.39 earned run average in 20 games and 94 innings for the Brewers.
His son, Ed Sprague Jr would also play in the Majors later on in the 1990’s and 2000’s, as a third baseman for 11-years, mainly with the Toronto Blue Jays.


Everything baseball: cards, events, history and more.